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St. Anthony's-LuHi lives up to hype

St. Anthony's Rebecca Musgrove works her way inside

St. Anthony's Rebecca Musgrove works her way inside Sacred Heart's defense. (Jan. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

There was a lot of hype surrounding the St. Anthony's-Long Island Lutheran game Sunday night at the Kennedy Challenge in the Bronx, and both teams delivered in a big way. At times, both teams appeared on the precipice of victory, but St. Anthony’s pulled out a 65-59 overtime win.

St. Anthony’s guard Rebecca Musgrove (above) came through with a big performance. She was fouled at the end of regulation with no time on the clock and the Friars down 51-50. Musgrove missed the first and she had to be thinking of the misses she has had in the past at the foul line.

Musgrove missed the front end of a one-and-one against Nazareth in the Class AA state semifinals last season in the waning seconds with the Friars leading and they would lose the game. A similar situation occurred two weeks ago against South Shore.

Musgrove has struggled from the foul line this season after hitting 80 percent last season. Musgrove hit the free throw to force overtime and she went 7-for-8 from the foul line in overtime. Talk about mental fortitude. She had 15 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“That was really big emotionally,” St. Anthony’s sophomore Chastity Taylor said. “We were all excited for her.”

Said St. Anthony’s coach Ken Parham: “The kid doesn’t want to lose. Her free throws are excellent. She missed a couple in some situations, but now mentally I think she will be fine.”

Taylor also contributed with key baskets. She had six points in the first half and didn’t score in the third quarter. The sophomore scored seven in the fourth quarter and three in overtime to finish with 16 points. Taylor’s talent is evident and she has a lot of upside.

“We’re trying to work on her doing that all the time,” St. Anthony’s coach Ken Parham said. “She has so much ability. Her potential is unbelievable. We want that intensity she showed in the fourth quarter.”

Lutheran freshman Boogie Brozoski came through with a tremendous performance illustrating why she’s one of the best players on the Island and receiving Division I interest. She had a career-high 28 points and added eight assists, five rebounds and hit four three-pointers. Yuni Sher was also key for the Crusaders. She scored 18 points before fouling out late in overtime, but she hit some clutch shots.

St. Anthony’s (13-4) opened the game with a 14-1 run. Sher, Sade Gibbons, and Staci Barret all had two fouls for Long Island Lutheran (14-3) in the first quarter. But the Crusaders chipped away and trailed 26-20 at the half.

Brozoski was the star of the third quarter, getting the Crusaders back in the game. She fed Sher for a jumper to pull LuHi within 28-24. After a basket by Symone Kelly (14 points and 20 rebounds), Brozoski forced a steal at midcourt and scored and then fed Sher for a basket to make it 30-28. Kelly scored on a putback and then Brozoski hit a three-pointer. Musgrove scored with seven seconds left before Brozoski hit a shot off the glass from midcourt as time expired to tie the score at 34.

Taylor started off the fourth quarter going 1-for-2 from the free throw line. Taylor scored off a pass from Musgrove, scored on an open layup, and grabbed a rebound sending an outlet pass to Musgrove for a fastbreak layup with 5:20 left in regulation to make it 42-36.

Christina Raiti hit a three-pointer and Brozoski scored on a three-point play to tie the score. LuHi took its first lead of the game at 44-42 on a Sher jumper. Taylor scored to tie the score before Brozoski hit a three-pointer.

Musgrove then scored on two drives to the basket to give the Friars a 48-47 lead with 2:03 left. Parham went 1 of 2 from the foul line and Brozoski hit a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left to tie the score at 49.

Parham went 1 of 2 from the foul line with seven seconds left and Raiti hit two free throws with seven seconds left to give the Crusaders a 51-50 lead.

In overtime, Taylor scored on a three-point play to open it. Musgrove hit two free throws and Parham went 1-for-2 to give the Friars a 57-51 lead with 3:16 left. Sher scored off a pass from Brozoski before Johanna Impellizeri scored.

The Crusaders got as close as 60-57 with 28 seconds left when Brozoski hit two free throws. Musgrove helped seal it by going 5-for-6 from the foul line in the final 17 seconds.

The Friars shot 5-for-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, but went 10-for-13 in the overtime.

“We want to be in this situation as often as possible,” Parham said. “We have some tough teams to face in the playoffs. It’s a shame we had to play this in the Bronx. We want to play them every year. It’s great for the kids. They all know each other for years. Long Island Lutheran is a really good team.”

St. Anthony’s has the bragging rights with the win, but it’s clear these are two very good teams that aren’t separated by much. It was a great day for Long Island basketball and the two teams will play again the next two seasons with the game next season at St. Anthony’s. It’s too bad we can’t see these teams play again this year.

"Everyone has been talking about this game for so long,” Musgrove said. “We were definitely looking forward to this. Big bragging rights.”

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